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Buying property 101: Who’s who? Pt1

19.04.22 | Marc Barlow | Blog

If you’re new to real estate – perhaps you’re looking to buy your first house or apartment – things can seem a bit daunting. What first seems like a fairly simple (if enormous) transaction between you and a seller soon becomes fairly complicated.

Not only do you have to get your head around the many loans available, you also need to understand the roles of different people you might encounter along the way.

You might not end up needing to deal with all of the following players, but here’s a description of the people you might meet and the parts they all play in the real estate process.


Real estate agent

If you’ve ever rented, you’ll probably be familiar with these strange creatures. And unless you’re one of the few who are negotiating a sale directly with a property owner, you’ll be seeing a lot more of estate agents as you search for your dream home.

The estate agent works for the seller (‘vendor’), and their main jobs are to market and sell the property. This means they stage open-for-inspection and private viewings of the property, arrange print and online advertising, take photos, and act as a gatekeeper between buyers and sellers. In most property sales in Australia, it’s rare to meet or speak to the vendor until you’re actually signing contracts … and sometimes not even then.

Real estate agents almost always work on commission. The more they can sell a property for, the more money they earn. This is important to understand. Agents are usually friendly types. They will try to find suitable places for you to purchase. They’ll respond to your queries quickly. But they work for the seller. Not you.

Even so, getting in their good books is a great way to find out about forthcoming sales and ‘off market’ properties (those being sold without any advertising or public auction).


If you’re planning to buy a property, getting a valuation can save a lot of heartache. Even if you have pre-approval for a loan, the lender might not actually give you the loan if they think you’ve paid too much. Not good. In a private sale it’s always good to speak to a lender or mortgage broker first about getting an independent (or bank) valuation.

Buying at auction is a bit different. In almost every case, lenders see the market as setting itself at a public auction. What you pay on the day is the value of the property, so pre-sale valuations would only be needed in extreme circumstances.



As mentioned, the vendor is the seller. Their place is on the market because they’re prepared to sell. They might be desperate, or they might be testing the waters. While their motivation and circumstances are usually not known to you, it doesn’t hurt to ask the agent! Selling a place is inconvenient, takes time and costs money. So assume they really need to sell. It’s one of the advantages you have when house hunting.


Buyers’ advocate

Buyers’ agents or advocates are professional house hunters. They help a buyer narrow down their choices (area, price, property type) and help negotiate sales. Some advocates have a direct line to estate agents, and can get inside info on forthcoming properties before they hit the market. They’re also skilled bidders and negotiators.

Most people buy without the help of an advocate, but if you’re looking in many different locations, it can certainly help you manage time and travel.

Stay tuned for Pt 2 in the coming weeks or Contact Us today to find out more.